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#1 Turtle

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 02:03 AM

Just now listening to this author on the radio. This is what I keep talking about.
The GOD Part Of The Brain - Matthew Alper

Will post commentary later. Enjoy. ;)

#2 catholiboy

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 03:13 AM

Out of interest:
what significance, if any, do you assign to this in theological terms?

#3 InfiniteNow

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 12:04 PM

A lowest common denominator indeed...


Every known culture from the dawn of our species has maintained a belief in some form of a "spiritual" reality. Wouldn't this suggest that human spirituality must represent an inherent characteristic of our species, that is, a genetically inherited trait? Furthermore, being that spirituality, just like language, represents a cognitive function, wouldn't this suggest that our "spiritual" instincts, just like our linguistic ones, must be generated from some very specific physical part within the brain? I informally refer to this site as the "God" part of the brain, a cluster of neurons from which spiritual cognitions, sensations, and behaviors are generated.


In the reviews:

What a wonderful book you have written. It was not only brilliant and provocative but also revolutionary in its approach to spirituality as an inherited trait. For years, I had studied cases of people who suffered from varying degrees of head injury in which the victims showed radical changes in their religious behavior after their accidents. Though I was intrigued by this particular phenomenon, I could never really make sense of it until I read your book. For this I cannot thank you enough."

~Arnold Sadwin, M.D., F.A.P.M., F.P.C.P,
(Ex-chief of Neuropsychiatry at University of Pennsylvania)



#4 Turtle

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 01:44 PM

Out of interest:
what significance, if any, do you assign to this in theological terms?


That belief in God, an after-life, angels, demons, etcetera, has its cause in the physical structure of the brain. That such belief is 'hardwired' in the same way musical or language ability is hardwired. That such hard-wiring manifests in a population as a distribution curve (Bell curve), so that we have in the example of music, those who are tone deaf (an extreme), those with avergae musical ability (the mean) , and musical prodigies (the other extreme).

So too then with belief in a spirit world, i.e. in the population we have a distribution curve of belief that is directly related to the amount of activity in the parts of the brain that generates this 'spiritual' sense. The average person -according to surveys- says they believe in God (the mean), a few people are ardent believers (an extreme), and a few are ardent atheists(the other extreme).

So in a very real sense for spirtual belief (an illusional effect derived from a brain mechanism), what you believe is not your fault, what I believe is not my fault, and what 'they' believe is not 'their' fault. B)

#5 catholiboy

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 02:09 AM

Don't you nonetheless think that this kind of thinking could pave the way for discriminatory thinking against religion?

#6 Turtle

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 01:32 PM

Don't you nonetheless think that this kind of thinking could pave the way for discriminatory thinking against religion?


Anything is possible. :teeth: For myself however, it has paved the way to just nod and smile at religion as long as it stays out of government. :cup: :eek: Afterall, do we discriminate against someone who can't carry a tune? :eek2:

#7 catholiboy

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 02:16 AM

For myself however, it has paved the way to just nod and smile at religion as long as it stays out of government.


I agree with the government thing.
Very much so.

#8 Turtle

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 06:41 PM

:cup:

Web Search Results1 - 10 of about 5,030 for neurotheology


neurotheology article


Let those who can, read. :rant: :read: :cup:

#9 Turtle

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 03:39 PM

Researchers are unearthing the roots of religious feeling in the neural commotion that accompanies the spiritual epiphanies of nuns, Buddhists and other people of faith.
...
The key, Ramachandran speculates, may be the limbic system, which comprises interior regions of the brain that govern emotion and emotional memory, such as the amygdala and hypothalamus. By strengthening the connection between the temporal lobe and these emotional centers, epileptic electrical activity may spark religious feeling.
...
When the Buddhist subjects reached their self-reported meditation peak, a state in which they lose their sense of existence as separate individuals, the researchers injected them with a radioactive isotope that is carried by the blood to active brain areas. The investigators then photographed the isotope’s distribution with a special camera—a technique called single-photon-emission computed tomography (SPECT).
...


Searching for God in the Brain: Scientific American

It's all in your heads folks. :esmoking:

#10 Garry Denke

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 07:01 PM

Out of interest:
what significance, if any, do you assign to this in theological terms?


Greetings catholiboy,

bible says

Geotheomechanics
by Garry Denke

We all know that there is no god on geo
(earth) so geotheomechanics is simple

--
(a) geotheomechanics roots

here is no god on geo (earth)
0

here is a person on geo (earth)
1

(:eek: geotheomechanics branches

here is a person who has no god above the geobrain
0 / 1 = 0

here is a person who has no god beneath the geobrain
1 / 0 = 0, 1, & infinity...

here is a person who multiplies the geobrain by no god
1 x 0 = 0

here is a person who divides the geobrain by no god
1 / 0 = 0, 1, & infinity...

here is a person who adds no god to the geobrain
1 + 0 = 1

here is a person who subtracts no god from the geobrain
1 - 0 = 1

© geotheomechanics synthesis

a person who has no god above the geobrain
is a person who multiplies the geobrain by no god
0

a person who has no god beneath the geobrain
is a person who divides the geobrain by no god
0, 1, & infinity...

a person who adds no god to the geobrain
is a person who subtracts no god from the geobrain
1

(d) geotheomechanics analysis

0 = geotheoatheist/geotheoagnostic
0, 1, & infinity... geotheochristian/geotheocatholic
1 = geotheomuslim/geotheojew

(e) geotheology biotheology projections

0 = geotheoagnostic/geotheoatheist biotheononpolarbrain
0, 1, & infinity... geotheocatholic/geotheochristian biotheotripolarbrain
1 = geotheojew/geotheomuslim biotheomonopolarbrain

geotheomuslim/geotheojew proof (a.1)
1 / 1 = 1
geotheojew/geotheomuslim proof (1.a)
1 / 1 = 1

(f) geotheobipolarmechanics

the "new/new" geobrain
0 / 0 = 0, 1, & infinity...
(no god over no god)

All power = 0^0

--
Whereinabove words "the geobrain" appear
substitute "herself"/"himself" accordingly

;) rock / :read: rock

rock :esmoking: head


#11 Turtle

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 11:50 AM

Another quote from the science article I linked to in post #9:

Mystical Misfirings
Scientists and scholars have long speculated that religious feeling can be tied to a specific place in the brain. In 1892 textbooks on mental illness noted a link between “religious emotionalism” and epilepsy. Nearly a century later, in 1975, neurologist Norman Geschwind of the Boston Veterans Administration Hospital first clinically described a form of epilepsy in which seizures originate as electrical misfirings within the temporal lobes, large sections of the brain that sit over the ears. Epileptics who have this form of the disorder often report intense religious experiences, leading Geschwind and others, such as neuropsychiatrist David Bear of Vanderbilt University, to speculate that localized electrical storms in the brain’s temporal lobe might sometimes underlie an obsession with religious or moral issues. ...

Searching for God in the Brain: Scientific American

So if this scientific view is correct, that is that strong religious experience is an artifact of the brain's structure, then it must serve, or have served, some evolutionary purpose. Since science also informs us on the dubious nature of religious beliefs/practices-talking in tongues for example- then how should the scientist & freethinkers address the myriad religious claims that contradict the science, and more to the point how to fairly interact with those who have these overly religious behaving brains?

I don't know the answers, but I think these are the questions. :phones: :hihi:

#12 freeztar

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 05:56 PM

I don't think it's as simple as that. What about cultural influence?

Nature vs. Nurture is really kind of silly. The "vs." should be replaced with "and", imho.

#13 Turtle

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 06:24 PM

I don't think it's as simple as that. What about cultural influence?

Nature vs. Nurture is really kind of silly. The "vs." should be replaced with "and", imho.


I expect that is taken into account in the studies so far conducted. I'll do some looking if you don't beat me to it. :turtle:

Simple? No. Nevertheless many things about the brain's hardwired functions are cross cultural. For example Noam Chomski's study of language in children reveals that all babies, regardless of culture or parentage, coo & babble in exactly the same way. Again, if you don't beat me to references on this I will return to it.

Looking at other brain structure studies oriented to behavior extremes such as criminal behavior demonstrate just how powerful an influence it is. Yes there are all manner of other influences but it is a matter of predisposition in regard to the hardwired structure. For a different body structural consideration think "white men can't jump", and add "no matter how hard they train."

I find it interesting that for as long as this thread has been here that neither 'side' has the taste for it. I presume the believers don't like it because it suggests that a proper real-time brainscan while they pray would demonstrate a brain activity pattern previously identified by the the bio-theologists as 'highly religious' or some such categorization. Bummer.

For the believer haters, if they allow that the believers literally can't help themselves then their beating up on them for their beliefs looks like what it is; simple bullying and cruelty. Quite possibly both extremes have some manner of structure that predisposes them. Bummer.

#14 pamela

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 08:28 AM

hi Turtle,
How about a point of view from some one who takes the middle road: neither being to the left nor right in believer or non.
My son has a history of seizures although non epileptic in origin. Last year, after a lengthy convulsive seizure, something odd occured. He would pray constantly. Now, let me preface with this. As far as belief systems go, I have not produced "little Pams", my children's beliefs are there own-I have produced individual thinkers. Often times, there are some really interesting debates going on in this home.I applaud their individuality, and reserve the right to think differently.
Now as far as the excessive praying. Literally, after every time he spoke about anything, it was followed with a short prayer.Even to the extreme, that if he forgot to say "good morning" to God, would send him into a 30 minute "forgiveness" prayer. It became unnerving and was presenting problems at school as well. He was not loud, but it was incessant chatter and quite disruptive. I finally convinced him to pray silently(and for me as well-considering my sanity was in question now;) ) and this worked.This finally came to a halt with his next seizure.
Now the after effects have presented quite differently. He thinks deeply about the simplest things. He will ponder the clouds and give me an explanation about what they are and how they were formed. And the funny thing is, he is correct and had not ever read anything about them nor saw programming either, to the best of my knowledge. Apparently, a different part of the brain has been stimulated now, and much more easily tolerated by mom, infact, mom is groovin on this part!:Glasses:
Now, I have not read this guy's book, but I have to wonder if indeed there is something in the brain that does stimulate a religious response in a person. In my son's case, the response had not been there before and has not been back since, although, he does maintain his same beliefs and does pray when he feels the need. He has not had a seizure now for quite sometime, and I hope that no more will occur. But I have to wonder, what the next seizure will bring........

#15 Turtle

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 06:06 PM

hi Turtle,
How about a point of view from some one who takes the middle road: neither being to the left nor right in believer or non.


Roger that. Activating free thinking brain centers. :)

Now, I have not read this guy's book, but I have to wonder if indeed there is something in the brain that does stimulate a religious response in a person. In my son's case, the response had not been there before and has not been back since, although, he does maintain his same beliefs and does pray when he feels the need. He has not had a seizure now for quite sometime, and I hope that no more will occur. But I have to wonder, what the next seizure will bring........


I haven't read Alpers God Part of the Brain either, rather I heard him in a 3 hour radio program. What is new (and I think key) to getting at the religious experience & brain function is the use of real-time brain imaging in control settings and developing an archive of categorized patterns.

Before positng this, I did a quick Google for "neurotheology" and found a couple sources new to me. :reading: :( :Glasses: :doh:

Are humans hard-wired for faith? - CNN.com

"I've meditated and gone to another place I can't describe. Hours felt like mere minutes. It was an indescribable feeling of peace," recalled a CNN colleague.

"I've spoken in languages I've never learned. It was God speaking through me," confided a relative.

The accounts of intense religious and spiritual experiences are topics of fascination for people around the world. It's a mere glimpse into someone's faith and belief system. It's a hint at a person's intense connection with God, an omniscient being or higher plane. Most people would agree the experience of faith is immeasurable.

Dr. Andrew Newberg, neuroscientist and author of "Why We Believe What We Believe," wants to change all that. He's working on ways to track how the human brain processes religion and spirituality. It's all part of new field called neurotheology. ...


Johns Hopkins University Press | Books | The Soul in the Brain

In this provocative study, Michael R. Trimble, M.D., tackles the interrelationship between brain function, language, art—especially music and poetry—and religion. By examining the breakdown of language in several neuropsychiatric disorders, neuroscientists have identified brain circuits that are involved with metaphor, poetry, music, and religious experiences. Drawing on this body of evidence, Trimble argues that religious experiences and beliefs are explicable biologically and relate to brain function, especially of the nondominant hemisphere. ...



#16 pamela

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 06:48 PM

hmmmnn....I wonder, if this part is actually just the place for higher consciousness. Religion, having been fed into memory, is pulled to the forefront, hence these experiences occur. I find it difficult to accept that we are wired to religion, this should be a choice and not a predetermined biological function.

#17 Turtle

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 07:14 PM

hmmmnn....I wonder, if this part is actually just the place for higher consciousness. Religion, having been fed into memory, is pulled to the forefront, hence these experiences occur. I find it difficult to accept that we are wired to religion, this should be a choice and not a predetermined biological function.


Well, I did not list a source near the top of my search that takes the view that neurotheology is bunk because spiritual awareness is an experience of an higher reality. As I earlier referred to Noam Chomski's work on how we are hard-wired for language, it is after having read some of his work in detal that I have no such difficulty as have you, with the idea of neuro/bio-theology as a legitimate hypothesis. That said, I expect the predisposition to either extreme of 'religious' or 'spiritual', or whatever-name-one-cares-to-apply experience - as well as the middle :evil: - fits some well described statistical distribution. :shrug:

Here's the link to that opposing view I mentioned: >>

Mindful Hack: "Neurotheology": Bad neurology and bad theology?

Yuh. Mario and I discussed a number of these schemes in The Spiritual Brain, and they all have one thing in common: They aim to explain religious experiences away rather than explain them.

It is as if someone were to explain Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel in terms of infighting at the Vatican. If infighting at the Vatican in those days explained the Sistine, no one would bother with it now.

Coles also talks about another favourite subject - the apparently sudden emergence of human consciousness, especially as expressed in art, literature, music, and spirituality: ...